Oil Futures Little Changed at Open

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange spot-month oil futures were little changed Wednesday morning ahead of a report by the Energy Information Administration that's expected to show the eighth straight weekly stock draw for crude oil, while the market is now recalibrating their expectations for refined product supply.

Tuesday's selloff for oil futures was halted ahead of the American Petroleum Institute's report that showed crude oil inventories plunged during the week-ended Aug. 11 by a more-than-expected 9.2 million barrels (bbl).

If confirmed by EIA, this would mark the eighth straight weekly crude oil stock draw. The market expected a 3.7 million bbl crude stock draw.

API also reported that gasoline stocks unexpectedly posted a build of 300,000 bbl while distillate supply fell 2.2 million bbl during the week reviewed. The market expected a gasoline stock draw of 800,000 bbl and a distillate stock draw of 1.2 million bbl for the week reviewed.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week-ended Aug. 11 is due out at 10:30 a.m. EDT, with traders ready to scrutinize data on U.S. crude production.

Market sentiment continues to shift between bearish and bullish, with the EIA projection U.S. crude oil production would continue higher in September and recent reports showing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries produced more crude oil in July despite their pledge to restrain output through March 2018 tilting the scales to bearish.

Technical pressure also weighed on the futures complex, with the short-term trend remaining down for the West Texas Intermediate crude contract that slipped below initial support at $48.44 this week and traded to a three-week spot low of $47.09 on Tuesday.

At 9 a.m. EDT, September WTI crude futures were up 3 cents at $47.58 bbl, reversing from Tuesday's three-month spot low of $47.09. October Brent on the IntercontinentalExchange gained 8 cents to a $50.88 bbl. September ULSD futures opened 0.12 cent lower at $1.5984 gallon and the September RBOB futures were up 0.30 cent to $1.5825 gallon.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com